The virtually unanimous opinion of all sensible and informed people on the issue of North Korea is that there is no military option. Lindsay Graham completely rejected this consensus. He claimed that there is a military option: the destruction of North Korea. In support for this claim, Graham asserted that he had been told this by President Trump.
The notion that Trump would use Graham as his spokesperson seems highly unlikely. However, the notion that Graham would invent the claim seems equally unlikely. Moreover, the US has already assembled a massive military force on the borders of North Korea. The American elite have clearly worked themselves up into a hysteria over the issue of North Korea. The corporate media daily represent North Korea as presenting a threat to America, demanding that something must be done: specifically, North Korea must be deprived of its nuclear weapons capacity. This is a mantra that invariably precedes the launching a war of aggression.
Of course, the alternative is that the US is simply engaging in rhetoric to frighten China into forcing North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons programme. However, this seems unlikely, as China clearly does not have the power to force North Korea to do so. Further, North Korea's leadership is certain that if it gave up its defence, it would be inevitably overthrown. The tough talk as diplomacy thesis is also unlikely because the administration has clearly stated that the time for talking is over. This has been articulated especially clearly by Nikki Haley, which is a message North Korea will have heard loud and clear.
In this atmosphere it seems likely that the administration is contemplating the unleashing of war upon the people of North Korea. Indeed, National Security Advisor McMaster and General Dunford have made public comments that have clearly suggested the administration would prefer deaths in the penisula rather than risk harm to the "homeland". Such a war would inevitably result in terrible loss of life, millions. The calculus being considered in Washington is that the death toll would be restricted to the region. From this sociopathic point of view, there are many upsides. The destruction of North Korea, a state that has resisted the neoliberal global order. The inevitable flood of North Koreans over the border into China and, to a lesser extent, Russia, creating chaos and instability for these "adversary" countries. The only downside would be the deaths of Americans in South Korea, which would be a source of concern to the US corporate media and US voters. The US elite has long been complacent about foreigner civilian "collateral damage", but tens of thousands of Americans would not be so easy to characterise as unfortunate collateral damage. Indeed, any attempt to characterise Americans as collateral damage would doubtless be met with howls of outrage. Ironically, it may well be that the best hope for the staying of the US military might well be the presence of Americans in South Korea.